Watford 1-2 Manchester United: 5 Talking Points
Well, all that 3rd season syndrome talk could now be brushed aside for a bit now. The Hornets, who got off to a flyer this season, have finally been stung in their nest and it took the Red Devils to hand Watford their first defeat and gift themselves a position of comfort with relation to how things were about 3 weeks ago.
It was Romelu Lukaku who quite literally bodied the ball in after Ashley Young swept in a cross from the left flank following some commotion inside the penalty area caused by a corner kick. Smalling hit the back of the net shortly afterwards with a striker's finish at the end of a training ground corner routine with Fellaini as its centrepiece.
Watford threatened to come back into the game as Andre Gray slotted one past De Gea in the 65th minute. But United's defensive organization coupled with some David de Gea heroics ensured the Red Devils won their second consecutive away game.
The only source of worry for Jose Mourinho would be the red card (second yellow) that Matic received for a tactical foul in the 93rd minute.
Without further ado, let's look at the 5 talking points from the game:
#5 Manchester United's set-piece dominance
Manchester United have some big players in their lineup. In fact, scoring directly from a freekick against the Red Devils is a whole different ball game as players like Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku form the wall.
On the other end, they are just as menacing. While much has been made of Watford's set-piece abilities, they struggled to hold their own against United. With Fellaini in the lineup, he was always expected to be the target man in set-piece situations. It was Fellaini who kicked off the move for the first goal.
Their second goal was straight out of the training ground. You could see that from the way Jose Mourinho was celebrating with his coaching staff in the dugout. Ashley Young picked out Marouane Fellaini on the far side of the box from the corner. The big Belgian sent it straight at Smalling's chest and the Englishman channelled his inner Harry Kane to roundhouse it home.
This was Manchester United playing to their strengths and they should try to do a whole lot more of that.